An Uber driver has sparked outrage after refusing to let a man’s guide dog into his car because he was too “big”.
Stephen Anderson, who is visually impaired, was horrified when he was told only small dogs were allowed in the car and it was only when a passerby intervened that the driver conceded.
The disabled man shared a video of the interaction, taken at Harrow on the Hill station in London, to Twitter on September 12.
He says: “I’m not quite following you. I’ve just explained to you that he is a guide dog, so that’s fine?”
The driver simply says “no”, so Stephen asks again: “It’s not fine?”
But the Uber employee appears unaware of the law and his company’s own police and replies: “No, inside small ones.”
The passenger asks him to clarify what he has just said.
Mr Anderson, who is a pianist and the director of music at St Thomas’ Church in Kensal Town, explains: “I’m just going to explain this very simply. As I’ve explained to you, he’s a guide dog.
“Under Section 107 of the Equality Act, there is an obligation to take – as he’s a guide dog.”
Still apparently unaware of the law, the driver asks if Stephen has told Uber about his situation.
“I’m not required to tell anybody that I’ve got a guide dog with me, and that’s part of Uber’s policy, yes,” he responds.
A passerby notices the commotion and steps in to defend the passenger, telling the driver he cannot be denied “by law”.
“You cannot deny him it’s a guide dog,” he continues. “He can take his dog in a shop, anywhere he wants.”
Eventually, the driver gets out of the car and opens the door for both Stephen and Barney to get in.
The Equality Act states that guide dogs and other assistance dog owners have the right to enter the majority of services, venues and vehicles with their dog.
That includes Uber, whose website states: “The ground rules: you must always allow service dogs in Uber rides to accompany their riders – it’s the law.”
In the caption to the video, Stephen said: “This has to stop, it’s getting ridiculous. How I didn’t flip my lid I’ll never know!”
Plenty of viewers praised him for keeping calm and criticised the driver for only changing his mind after a member of the public interviewed.
A spokesperson for the company said it was “totally unacceptable for drivers to refuse to take a guide dog and we investigate every report”.
“Licensed private hire drivers must carry service animals in their vehicle,” they added.
“We highlight this obligation to all drivers before they start using the Uber app and often send reminders.
“Any driver who is found to have refused to take a service animal will permanently lose access to the app.”
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